Masterpiece on the Mississippi

Here’s a suspenseful epic with a “moral center”: Tim Gautreaux’s The Missing, a “remarkable” third novel, which, originating in New Orleans, unfolds up the course of the Mississippi River. It’s the story of Sam Simoneux, who arrives in France right after the end of World War I and is assigned the task of cleaning up the country’s battlefields. But it’s ultimately about a search for a girl, as Sam travels up the Mississippi as a deck hand on an excursion boat. According to The Wall Street Journal, this adventurous book is a “meditation on the bewildering complexities—and the fundamentally solitary nature—of loss.”